Elon Musk says Apple doesn't really 'blow people's minds' anymore

  • Elon Musk says that Apple's products don't blow people's minds anymore.
  • He added that Apple still makes great phones, though.
  • He's called Apple the "Tesla graveyard" in the past, suggesting that Tesla employees that don't work out often land at Apple.

Tesla CEO and celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk took some time out of his busy schedule boosting Model 3 production and running SpaceX to sit down with Recode's Kara Swisher for an hour-long interview.

Although he didn't smoke weed this time, he did blow some figurative smoke at Apple, Tesla's Silicon Valley neighbor and a company that Tesla is frequently compared to, even if their financial situations are worlds apart. 

"There’s not many products you can buy that really make you happier. And so Apple did that for a long time, I still think, obviously, that Apple makes great phones," Musk said, explaining that Tesla aims to make a car that makes people really happy. 

"I still use an iPhone and everything. But Apple used to really bring out products that would blow people’s minds, you know?" he continued. "And still make great products, but there’s less of that."

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CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks at an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks at an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks at an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks at an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks at an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks at an Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announce new iPhones with larger screens as well as other product upgrades. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president introduces the iPhone X Max during an event on September 12, 2018, in Cupertino, California. - New iPhones set to be unveiled Wednesday offer Apple a chance for fresh momentum in a sputtering smartphone market as the California tech giant moves into new products and services to diversify.Apple was expected to introduce three new iPhone models at its media event at its Cupertino campus, notably seeking to strengthen its position in the premium smartphone market a year after launching its $1,000 iPhone X. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by NOAH BERGER has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president] instead of [Apple COO Jeff Williams]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple will kick off a blitz of new products this week, ending a year of minor updates and setting the technology giant up for a potentially strong holiday quarter. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Philip W. Schiller, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing of Apple, speaks about the the new Apple iPhone XS and XS Max at an Apple Inc product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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Musk then predicted that Apple's next iPhone, which he called the "iPhone 11," might not draw as much consumer attention — at least compared with Tesla's famous 450,000-long Model 3 waiting list

"I don’t think people are necessarily running to the store for the iPhone 11. But I think with Tesla, we really want to make products that people just love, that are heart-stopping," Musk said. 

Musk has sniped at Apple in the past, calling it the "Tesla graveyard," suggesting that employees that couldn't hack it at his company went to work at Apple. But employees go back and forth between the companies all the time. In August, Doug Field, a former Tesla engineering executive who oversaw Model 3 production, ended up back at Apple. 

Musk may be tapping into a growing view on Apple products. This year, when the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max went on sale, the lines outside Apple stores were not as long as they used to be. When the less expensive iPhone XR — the "Model 3" to the iPhone XR's "Model S" — was released a month later, there weren't lines at all.

Still, Apple would probably argue that "running to the store" doesn't accurately capture consumer interest for the iPhone, instead pointing to smaller surveys that say customer satisfaction for the iPhone is 98%.  

But that criticism may sting a little bit more coming from a Silicon Valley legend who makes cars that Apple's own employees love

You can listen to the entire interview over at Recode

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